15,000 signatures in support of the Disarm Domestic Violence campaign were collected in November 2009. Proposals were also put to Congress about regulating the possession of firearms by those with a history of domestic violence.
The Observatorio Social de Cali estimate that there are approximately 200,000 firearms, equivalent to one per 10 inhabitants. Between January and July 2009, out of the 17 domestic homicides that were reported in Cali, 10 of them involved firearms. In October 30, 2009, a woman was killed with a firearm after being kidnapped by her husband. In the city of Barranquilla, Piedad Acosta Clarena was killed in her home by her former husband.
The Disarm Domestic Violence campaign was launched with the support of women from Cali and in Bogotá, as part of the campaign ‘Without and With My Fist My Letter.’ Men publicly pledged to promote the campaign and speak out against violence against women.
Colombia has experienced conflict for over 50 years and illegal armed groups intimidate the civilian population and the government. These illegal armed groups are involved in drug trafficking, illegal paramilitary groups, organized underworld gangs, urban gangs and the arms trade. The culture in Colombia promotes the idea that men need guns to defend themselves and protect their families which gives impetus to the proliferation of small arms and light weapons.
During the tenuous post-conflict period, women are particularly vulnerable to abuse and are intimidated by threats from their partners who are often armed.
Colombian organisations will continue to raise awareness of the problem of armed domestic violence, and government institutions are expected to do their part in the control and use of firearms.